Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"This Book Would Be Perfect for Oprah!"

Oh, if I only had a dollar for every time I've read this sentiment in a book proposal. (An equally popular one in the career book biz is "What Color Is Your Parachute has sold eight million copies, so that means my job search book will, too!")

Everyone's now caught onto the fact that if, by some miraculous chance, Oprah features (or even just mentions) your book on her show, you will sell hundreds of thousands of copies. So many aspiring authors dream and scheme for a way to get her to notice their book. But let's face it—the odds are against them.

A lot of freelance publicists lure clients with just such a promise. But it's my belief that the one true way to get on the show is to have a story that everyone wants to hear (the equivalent of the "gee-whiz factor" that journalists used to employ when deciding what was news and what wasn't).
So it was with no surprise that I heard last week (while confined to the couch fighting off a brutal sinus infection and spending a little quality time with George and Wheezie) that a book by some authors with an Indiana connection will be featured on Oprah today.
Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope tells the story of two Taylor University students involved in a fatal school van crash—one survived, one didn't, and the coroner (and their families) couldn't tell the difference between the two. It was already a tragic story before the twist was revealed—that a family had buried someone else's daughter, and that another family was caring for a girl who wasn't theirs. Then it just made me gape. And wonder. And grieve for them all.

So now it's a book. The families have already been on all the network morning shows. Since last week it's been ranked between #2 and #5 on Amazon every day. So in essence, they don’t really need the PR they'll get from Oprah. But I'm sure that will push it to #1 and keep it near the top for a long time.

Compared to that, I guess a career book, no matter how revolutionary, can't really hold a candle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah Oprah. A poignant story like this one day and a pregnant man today!